Thursday, December 16, 2010

A few changes to the treats next week.

Macaroons and marshmallow cookies are being replaced with chocolate fudge and almond joys.

I have planned everything out and as long as I have the motivation to do all of these things, there should be a ton of delicious things to eat at my house next week.

I need to spend more time studying and drawing rather than scheming for next week.

That is all.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Ahoy Mateys (Future Plans)

I think I must start with an apology. It looks like my last post was in August...bad Sarah.

I have been cooking and baking, but I haven't been taking pictures or remembering to post.

Here it comes though.

The big promise.

I have been wanting to do the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies/Treats for a while now, but with this crazy school schedule, it never happens. I'm going to make it happen. The 12 Days of Christmas Treats will be crammed into 3 days of glorious baking and cooking. Some of the recipes are really simple, while others are a bit more challenging.

The treats are, as follows:

Rice Krispie Treats (part 2 as we have a pan in the house right now)
Chocolate Covered Pretzels
Peppermint Patties
Cinnamon Roasted Almonds
Brownie Oreos
Mexican Wedding Cookies
Marshmallow Cookies
Sugar Cookies
Chocolate Bark
Chocolate Crackle Cookies
Chocolate Mint Cookies

I plan on dividing them up between at least 4 groups of people. The VA, the Dean's Office, the Lyons Farm, the Rowse House and I'll freeze some for our excursion north for New Year's.

I'm only 75% sure that this will actually get done. 12 recipes is a lot especially when I've only actually made 3 of them before. I guess that's the challenge though!


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Omnomnom (Quiche Lorraine Scones)

I love bacon. LOVE BACON.

I love bacon so much that I baked it into scones. I've been making them before we go up north cause they're good to eat in the car when you're driving and in case someone makes some not-so-tasty breakfast.

I'm not sure exactly what makes a scone, a scone. It seemed to be a shock to people that a scone could be savory. I know it's pretty unconventional, but really, THEY'RE AMAZING.

They're pretty easy, but you have to be careful how much "stuff" you put in them. When I made them the first time, I put more cheese, bacon, and onion in it then what was called for. The cheese got super oozy and the delicious flakiness of the dough wasn't quite as present as I had hoped. The last time I made them, I tried to stick to the recipe for the "stuff." They turned out pretty dry. Still delicious, but dry. I need to find the happy medium.

2 cups + 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
pinch cayenne pepper
dash nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold butter, diced
1/2 cup half-and-half
2 eggs
4 ounces Swiss cheese, diced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
7 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Prepare the bacon, onion and cheese. Toss these ingredients together with 1 teaspoon flour; set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cayenne, nutmeg and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the butter is pea-size. With a fork, lightly beat the eggs and half-and-half and add to the flour mixture.
Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead gently for less than one minute. Pat dough to about 1/2-inch and add the bacon, onion and cheese mixture. Fold the sides of the dough on top of the bacon, etc and gently knead the dough with the other ingredients.

Pat the dough to about 3/4 to 1-inch thick and cut using 3-inch biscuit cutter (for large scones) or cut into squares or triangles. Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Rain Rain Go Away (An Apology and Some Excuses)

I like living in Michigan, don’t get me wrong. But summer is hot. When it’s not hot, it’s humid or some combination thereof. We thought we were being pretty smart when we moved into our apartment. Sure, we live in a basement with spiders, ants, and various other bugs…but just wait until summer, it’ll stay nice and cool. Except the it doesn’t. Our apartment stays around 78-80 degrees on a normal day. That’s just a few degrees cooler than what it is outside. We keep the windows closed and the blinds down until the sun goes down and then we blast the fans in the windows when it cools down outside. It doesn’t help much when it only gets down to 75 at night.

And that is my excuse for no posts. It’s too darn hot to bake or cook. I’ve been doing a lot of traveling lately too so I’m not at home much. First, I was housesitting for my aunt. During the house sitting, I also worked a wedding as a waitress and bartender, and spent some time with my friend Abbey. Then I was in Grand Rapids for a week to work with the architecture firm C2AE. The building they’re in is beautiful. It’s an old furniture factory that has been turned into offices. When I got home from GR it was hot again. I was also planning a going away party for Abbey who is currently in South Korea until December. Last weekend we went up to Omena to do some fishing. The fishing wasn’t so great. Too many tubers, kayakers, canoers, etc going down the river and scaring my trout away. I only had one rise. Lame.

After all of that, I’m going on a binge. I’ve basically got a recipe for each night of the week and I’m starting tonight. I’m house sitting for one of my co-workers and it definitely will not feel like work. Air conditioning, satellite tv, softened water, kitchen, dog, etc…How is this hard? Sandi is a good dog so she should be fun to hang around with while I make the best of air conditioning and baking.

On the agenda are cinnamon roasted almonds, cherry clafoutis, key lime pie: four ways, and blueberry muffins with freshly picked blueberries (thanks Mom and Grandpa!). I’m really excited for all of this to start. My co-workers are as well. They know of my cooking/baking love and are really ready to try something else that I’ve made. I will have my camera ready for pictures since I’ve been pretty lax in that aspect lately. Sorry! Things just get devoured before I have a chance to photograph them. Plus, there is the basement thing where I get no natural light at all so my pictures are all strangely lit. I promise. More pictures.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Oops I Did it Again (Mac and Cheese and a Brick-Like Banana Bread)

Here in the great state of Michigan, it’s been rather toasty. I love the warmer weather of the spring time because it still drops to a comfortable sleeping temperature at night. Summer is such a different story. It’s not. Really hot. And even when it rains, we don’t get a reprieve from the heat. And the humidity. Ugh. My super straight hair gets curly and the fly-away’s start flying away crazily. Summer in Michigan is best spent at the beach where the cool water is refreshing and the breeze off the lake cools you down as you bask in the sun. That is pretty much how I spent the 4th of July weekend. We spent two days up north on the water where I worked on my tan and read a book. Lovely days all around. As we were driving home on Monday though, Alex called and began pleading for a window air conditioner. Did either of us have someone we could buy one from? No more dehumidifier for us. It puts off way too much heat he said. I stayed at my parents house that night. Drove back to Ann Arbor in the morning to get ready for work, and Alex was right. The temperature in the apartment wasn’t getting below 79ish. That’s a bit toasty for sleeping I think. So, I kept traveling back and forth between A2 and my parent’s house, thankfully only about 30 minutes travel time each way.

I had bought some bananas to go into my smoothies, but I kept forgetting about them until after my smoothies were made. I put the bananas in the freezer in hopes of keeping them around long enough to make them into something. I figured the A/C of my parents house would be good for baking so Wednesday, I baked. I made homemade macaroni and cheese and a batch of banana bread. There were some problems though.

As I was waiting for the pasta to boil, I figured I’d throw together the banana bread batter. I got a little ahead of myself and put the kinda gross looking bananas into the bowl with the butter. Oops. Forgot to cream the butter and sugar first. Oh well, I told myself. I’ll just cream the butter, sugar, and bananas all together. That was the first problem. Butter doesn’t like to be creamed into anything except for sugar. There were chunks of butter everywhere. I kept mixing and mixing and mixing and mixing until the chunks of butter were mostly gone. By that point, it was over worked. I added everything else in and there didn’t seem to be that much batter. I added the chocolate chips, and still, not that much…and it was super dense. Not light like waffle batter, but thick like I should have kneaded it first.

Then I asked Terry to get the nut grinder down for me. He didn’t realize that it wasn’t put together, and the glass bottom dropped and hit the tile floor, shattering into a gazillion pieces. That was definitely an “oh shit” type of moment. I went in search of the broom since it was in fact my house, and swept up enough glass to get Terry out of the middle of it. I threw dinner in the oven so it wouldn’t be 10:00 by the time we ate and we set to cleaning up. There was glass everywhere. Little bits are still being found I hear. I had a couple of cuts on my legs since I was wearing shorts and the one bled for a good long while.

Once the Mac and Cheese was in the oven, I used the top part of the nut grinder to get some walnuts in the mix. That certainly didn’t help the situation. When it came time to put the batter into the bread pan, it didn’t move. It just stuck in the bowl. I helped it out with a spoon and kinda smoothed it out to make it flat, but that’s just about how it baked. It never rose. It’s like a block of banana bread. There are very few holes in it and I refuse to share such a dense piece of bread. Ick. Another bread failure to add to my ever growing list. I used the banana (who really knows when that needs to end, by the way. Banananananana….) bread recipe from a while ago and the mac and cheese was simplish. It needed more cheddar then what I had because it wasn’t quite salty enough. I’ve been eating it with hotdogs (yeah, yeah, yeah…my healthy food love hasn’t extended enough to get me off of hotdogs with my pastas).

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Spread Thin (Spinach Ricotta Pasta)

I think I scared the folks at the office today. I brought in my tasty lunch (leftovers from dinner last night) and everyone was all, "Wow, that looks so good." I told them that it was a little bland and I added a lot of parmesan too it. I said it would be better with homemade ricotta too. That's when they started looking at me like, seriously? They're finally learning about my baking/cooking happiness. I had to describe how to make ricotta cheese and how simple it is. Then I had to explain the dairy farm. Thankfully, the focus was shifted off of me when JoNell emerged with tasty bread/olive treats. I tried one and was pleasantly surprised with it. I'm not a fan of green olives and that's what the majority of them were, but there were green things and some black olives. And plenty of olive oil. Yum. I liked it.

Anyways, the recipe. I found it in a book I bought last summer (?) called "The Basic Cooking Bible." The recipes are, I swear, 5 steps at the most. Last night's was three, with one of them being, "boil the pasta."

Spinach Ricotta Pasta (Pictures to come)
1-10oz. package frozen spinach, thawed, drained, and chopped
1 box tri-colored rotini (my very favorite pasta ever)
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 container ricotta cheese (I will make it myself next time and probably use most of it, so about 2 cups?)
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese (plus more for garnish/taste)
salt and pepper to taste

Boil the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, put garlic and spinach in a pan. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the water, ricotta cheese and parmesan cheese. Stir until everything is creamy.

When the pasta is done, drain it and mix it in with the spinach mixture. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top and it's done!

We had it with some Texas Toast and it was a big hit. I found it a little bland, so I like to add more parmesan cheese then they say too. I can't remember if this was in the low-fat section of the book, but it seems like it's pretty healthy. Spinach is good for you right? Full of protein and green things. Taking food pictures is on my agenda tonight so I'll make sure to post everything before I head off to GR for the weekend. :)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dear Fingers (Rhubarb Cupcakes)

I have problems. My fingers seem to get in the way of my projects. Once upon a time, about two and a half years ago, they decided to pick a fight with a belt sander. Unfortunately, they lost. It resulted in 3 weeks of bandages, long periods of time between showers and general pain. It also means that I have scars over three of my finger pads so I don't have regular fingerprints. That is kind of cool I suppose.

Then in the fall, a potato peeler attacked my finger. That was just a band-aid kind of wound.

Last night, a burn to my thumb.

I may have mentioned that my parents got me a "Cupcake-a-Day" calendar for Christmas. You rip off a page every day and get new cupcakes or muffins and a few variations on them. Rhubarb cupcakes came up about a month ago and I was really itching to try them. I do love rhubarb. I got some from my grandma and pondered why I was willing to eat something that looked so similar to celery. Ick. It almost smells like it too. That pretty pink color kept me going. I whipped up the recipe last night, successfully keeping my fingers away from the knife I was using to chop the rhubarb finer. I didn't get anything stuck in the mixer paddles. I was doing well.

Then I took the muffins out of the oven and I guess I didn't have enough of the hot pad over the pan when I put my thumb down and BAM! burn. Thankfully, as Alex said, I didn't drop anything. He is so numb to my finger injuries that he just stayed in his room and told me that there is ice in the freezer. Jess heard me swearing all the way from outside the front door where she was standing there waiting for Alex to let her in. Anyways, it hurt. A lot. I wish I had my Boo-boo bunny to hold the ice for me, but I settled for paper towel wrapped around an ice cube.

I saved my muffins though! They were delicious. Yummy on many levels. The dense sweetness of the bread with the tartness of the rhubarb works so well. I dusted them with powdered sugar from my super cute mini strainer and called it a night. So much for going to bed early. Around 9:30 I finally popped some Ibuprofin and put some burn ointment on the burn, wrapped it in gauze and went to bed after 10. I'm still tired from this weekend and now even more tired because Ibuprofin takes a long time to kick in so I had a hard time falling asleep.

I ate two of the muffins for breakfast this morning. I figured that by not putting frosting on them, they're muffins and not cupcakes, so they're okay to eat for breakfast.

The cupcake recipe was so simple. I love when recipes say "mix all ingredients together." Okay. I have no problem with that. One bowl later, it's done. The batter was surprisingly thick. I spooned it into the cups rather then poured. It looked a lot like bread dough rather than muffin/cupcake batter. Delicious none the less. Also, I only have a 6 cup muffin pan, so baking things like this take a while. I got the bright idea to put my liners in a pan instead to see what would happen. So 6 went into the muffin pan and 6 got filled and put in a metal 8x8 pan. I had the thought that the end result might be a little different and I was right. The muffins baked in the muffin pan were a uniform golden brown on the outside whereas the ones that were just in the metal pan were only golden brown on the top and bottom, not the sides. Interesting. I'm pretty sure they all taste the same and I think that's all that matters. :)
I think it would be smart to invest in some real oven mitts that go over my entire hand, thereby preventing any future burns while in the kitchen.

Rhubarb Cupcakes
1 cup (2 sticks) sweet butter, softened
1 cup superfine sugar
2 cups self-rising flour
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup rhubarb, diced

Preheat the oven to 400. Combine all the cupcake ingredients, except the rhubarb, in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and pale, about 2 to 3 minutes. Fold in the rhubarb. Spoon the batter into the cups. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pans from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Then remove the cupcakes and cool on a rack.

I dusted mine with powdered sugar. It would also be good with a cream cheese frosting. The original recipe also had ginger in it and candied ginger in the frosting. I prefer mine without frosting so I can call them muffins and eat them for breakfast.

Store unfrosted in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Omena Lake (Brownies)

Now that I have cocoa powder…I can make anything. I bought it for chocolate soufflés, but haven’t had the opportunity to make them so I’ve been adding cocoa to all kinds of things. Fish cookies started it and then I got a craving for brownies.

There is only so much food blog browsing that I allow myself when I’m at work. I mean, I work hard, but sometimes files take a while to load and what else am I to do but look at food. I found brownies the other day. They are what stemmed the “OMG NO BUTTER” blog the other day. They’re delicious by the way. Amazingly delicious. Comparative to fly fishing, Frank the dog, and bathing suits by a certain someone. That means that the brownies were really amazing. It was all I could not to eat the entire pan on Saturday. I waited nearly two whole days before cracking into these guys. I had to save some for Terry when he got home from fishing and for Alex whom I promised some to when I was running around swearing about the butter.

The original recipe just called for walnuts, but I decided to spice things up and sprinkled semi-sweet chocolate chips and white chocolate chunks on top before they went in the oven.

The recipe was from Prevention magazine online. I’m not sure how I got to it, but my internet wanders led me there. I was reading recipes for a program called DTOUR. It’s for diabetics who are looking for tasty treats that aren’t going to kill them. I guess brownies with unsweetened cocoa powder in them won’t do it. Yay for all of us!

I was a huge fan of biting into them and finding part of a walnut in there. Those are healthy, right? Nuts…omega 3’s, protein and all that. That’s how I rationalize apple cranberry crisp for breakfast. Fruit, oatmeal, etc…healthy breakfast!

(Pictures to come)

Swimmy the Fish (Fish Cookies)

I used my fishy cookie cutter last week. Before heading to Indian River for the weekend, Terry and I decided to go fly fishing. The only fishing I had ever done before was bullheads many, many years ago when my Grandma had the house on the canal. Dad and I would go out at night when it was dark and fish for bullheads. The next morning, we’d go out on the deck and clean them.

I thought I would surprise Terry with a box of little fish cookies for our day on the river. I made my standard sugar cookie recipe but before refrigerating the dough, I dyed 2/3 of it an orangish color to look more like Goldfish crackers and added cooca powder to the other 1/3 to make them chocolatey. The one batch of sugar cookie dough made 261 little fish. It was taking me longer to roll out the dough and cut out the cookies then it took to bake them.

Needless to say, a few of them got a little crispier then I had hoped. Dad referred to them as “fake chocolate fish.” They were still good. Anyways, with the addition of the cocoa powder, the chocolate fish were still soft after a few days while the other ones dried out. I’m not sure why. It was crazy humid the day I made them so I was covering them in flour like mad.

The cookies were a hit. It’s easy to eat way too many of them because they’re so tiny. Even so, there is still at least one box of them left. I need to start bringing them in to work so I can have them with lunch. If I leave them open on the table, maybe Alex will eat more of them.

I caught a fish!

Happy (Belated) Mother’s Day (Lime Yogurt Cake)

If you were to ask me what my favorite holiday was, I’d answer this: Mother’s Day.

Christmas comes a close second.

It’s all about the food.

Mother’s Day begins a few weeks before the actual day when my Mom and I start emailing each other recipes and tentative menus for the big day. Each year, Mom hosts Mother’s Day brunch for both sides of the family. This year, that meant we cooked for 14. After the menu has been finalized, we start the cooking. On Saturday night, Mom and I get together and divvy out the recipes. Sometimes Aunt B joins in and helps, but the last few years have found her absent for various reasons…vacations to Florida are just so tiring. :) Anyways, I do the cheese blintz and this year I got to make scones as well. Between Saturday night and Sunday morning, Mom makes French Toast Casserole, Egg Strata, Monkey Bread, Baked Spiced Fruit and this year added Zippy Cheese Artichoke Oven-Omelet. Aunt Sue and Uncle Frank provide the fresh fruit and this year brought chocolate covered strawberries as well.

That is why Mother’s Day is my favorite.

The scones were both fantastic and a mess. I made blueberry scones and raspberry white chocolate scones. The first were the fantastic ones. There were some issues with oven temperatures or something and the bottoms of the raspberry white chocolate scones burned. They were not salvageable. We pried them off the bottom of the pan, cut the burned parts off and then put them in a bowl to nibble on while we finished the cooking.

All of this cooking culminates in the family coming over and eating and eating and eating some more. Such deliciousness hasn’t been seen in a year and I love it. I manage to stop myself from gorging by thinking about all the delicious leftovers I’m going to have for a few days.

This year I decided that I should make dinner as well. Mom spends all her time cleaning and cooking and hostessing brunch, why should she cook dinner as well?

Whitnie gave me the idea of chicken alfredo a few weeks before the big event. I have some ethical problems eating beef (read The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food, and Meat: A Love Story for the reasons) so I wanted to go with chicken. I did a homemade alfredo sauce that was really easy and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Then, dessert.

The best part of any meal really is the dessert part. In my food blog wanderings I found a recipe for lime yogurt cake with blackberry sauce. I’m not sure how I feel about blackberries yet so I decided to modify the recipe a little bit and made it with raspberry sauce. It was quite delicious and gone in just a few minutes.

Also, I want a springform pan.

Yogurt Lime Cake with Raspberry Sauce

1 cup whole milk plain unsweetened yogurt (I used delicious Trader's Point Yogurt...yummmy)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
zest of one lime
1/4 cup lime juice
2 eggs
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt

12 ounces fresh blackberries (frozen should work as well, but you should start with half the water)
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the sides of a 9-inch round cake pan or springform pan with oil and line the bottom with parchment paper if the pan is not springform.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, oil, sugar, lime zest and juice. Add the eggs one by one, whisking well after each addition. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together, right over your yogurt batter. Stir with a spoon until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let stand for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the pan to loosen. If you’re using the springform pan, unclasp the sides. Otherwise, flip the cake onto a plate and flip it back on the rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Make sauce: Combine blackberries, water, sugar and lime juice in blender or food processor. Purée until very smooth, then press through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds. Cover and refrigerate until cold.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Lack of Butter Here

The unthinkable happened today.

I ran out of butter.

I found a recipe for brownies. The kind where you add flour to cocoa powder and mix it with all kinds of other things and magically, they're brownies. It called for a cup of butter. How much did I have?

6 tablespoons.

6 tablespoons < 16 tablespoons.

There was some swearing going on, I will admit. Alex laughed a lot. Then he laughed on the floor. Seriously. All the while saying "such irony! no butter!" and other such things about how much I like to cook with butter. He challenged me by asking what I make that doesn't contain butter. The only thing I could come up with was pasta. And thinking about it, whenever a recipe doesn't call for butter I get really excited and feel like I have to tell him about it. It's like rubbing it in his face. "I made cookies and they taste delicious and there's NO BUTTER IN THEM! Ha!" That's what goes on in my head when I calmly tell him that there is no butter in whatever he's eating.

So, I made a decision. No brownies or brownies. We all know how that decision ended.

I improvised. I found a new recipe for brownies without butter. Google is great. Seriously. I typed in "brownie recipe, no butter" and up popped a bunch of recipes. Some were just less butter but the one I picked was no butter at all. It's oil based instead, probably for those who are dairy free. The comment were saying that they were tasty with melted butter instead of the oil, so of course I used the butter I had left plus a little oil to make up the difference. I'm not sure how they're going to come out cause they're still in the oven. I'm hoping they're delicious and I don't have to add these to the unfortunate list of things that I have failed at cooking.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


As you may know, I have a love for all things that are small and adorable. I'm pretty sure StumbleUpon knows this and they feed my addiction for such images. I think Terry is probably getting tired of opening up his email to find links to baby animals.

Baby Hippos

Baby Hedgehog

I mean, nothing compares to the epic cuteness of these guys.

Until today.

My miniature fish cookie cutter came in the mail.

Sorry about the blurriness. I think Terry took the picture with his phone early this morning. He's still working on his camera skills. :)

MINIATURE FISH COOKIES! Can you imagine the possibilities?! Homemade goldfish! Mini fish cookies! I'm going to be noming them by the handful. Good thing I'm starting to ride my bike to work on Monday. I get to work on Monday!

Today though, we're all heading to Frankenmuth to the World Expo of Beer. The boys will be drinking and Whitnie and I will be shopping. Expect Christmas pictures to pop up soon.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Molly Kitty (Lemon Souffle Pudding )

Sometimes the backlog of recipes and tasty things I have made gets long. I really can't remember why I made this dessert, other then I wanted to. I was home for the weekend or night and told them that I would make dessert.

I got this one from Joy the Baker one of my favorite food blogs. So colorful and tasty and she updates often which helps my daily glimpse into the food world. Remember those 12 or so blogs that I look at every day, hers is one of them.

I was a little confused as I was reading the recipe, but the lemon bit made me really want to make it. Lemon in the wintertime always makes things a little sunnier in an otherwise dreary time of year.

It was really simple to make. And magical. I haven't mentioned magical yet. You make stir two different batters together, fold them into one and MAGIC! When it's baked, there are two layers of deliciousness. The top is a cake type bit and the bottom is the pudding. All lemony and light. I think it would have been better cut into 4 slices instead of 8. Then we wouldn't have had to argue about who got the last pieces.

Lemon Souffle Pudding

1 cup granulated white sugar, divided
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs, separated (I got to use my egg separator for the first time!)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoon lemon zest
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup whole milk
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and place rack in the center of the oven. Butter six – 1 cup (240 ml) ramekins or other heatproof bowls. I used one buttered 9-inch glass pie dish.

Set aside 2 tablespoons of the sugar to use when whipping the egg whites. Place the remaining sugar in a medium sized bowl. Add the lemon zest to the sugar. With the back of a spoon, or spatula, grind the lemon zest into the sugar, creating a fragrant, slightly yellow tinged sugar. It's really lovely. I hate working with zest, but in this case, it was worth it. Then, in the bowl of your electric mixer or with a hand mixer, cream the lemony sugar and butter. Add the three egg yolks, one at a time, and beat until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour and salt and beat until combined. With the mixer on low speed, gradually pour in the lemon juice and milk. Set aside while you beat the egg whites.

In a clean bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks form. This could take a while. I wish I had a stand mixer (hint hint, I like the red ones) Gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter, in three additions, mixing only until incorporated.

Carefully pour the batter into the prepared ramekins. (The batter does not rise much during baking so you can fill the ramekins almost to the rim.) I poured the entire mixture into the 9-inch pie pan. Place the ramekins in a larger baking pan (or any size pan that will fit the ramekins and leave about 1 inch around the edges). Or place the 9-inch baking dish in a larger basting pan and set on your counter

Boil a tea pot of water to create a water bath. (A water bath is used to provide temperature protection for the eggs.) Place the basting pan with the souffle inside into the oven, carefully pulling the oven rack out a bit. Carefully pour in enough hot water so that the water is halfway up the sides of the ramekins or pie dish, and carefully slide the rack back into the oven.

Bake for about 40 – 45 minutes or until the sponge cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake portion comes out clean. Be careful not to insert the toothpick into the lemon sauce at the bottom of the ramekins. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and cool slightly before serving.

This dessert can be served warm or at room temperature. We liked ours plain or with some whipped cream. It was also suggested to put fresh fruit or dust it with powdered sugar. Yum.

In other news: I'm done with school for the summer! And a tree branch fell on my car and took out my mirror and part of my windshield. Great way to start what is supposed to be a lovely break from life.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Future of... (Pizza Muffins)

I check out about a dozen food blogs every day. Plus Every day.

Every day I find a new recipe I want to try. You can imagine how many recipes I have bookmarked now. I'm going to work my way through some of them this summer. Thanks to the government for helping me out with food as well as providing me a job (yay!) for the summer. I can't wait for school to be over (on Monday) so I can start cooking and baking again.

The other day I came across this food blog through foodgawker. What yummy recipe did I pick out? Pepperoni Pizza Puffs.

Over Spring Break Whitnie and I went shopping. We went to Kohl's and while we were there, we spent some money. I spent enough to get $10 in Kohl's cash. Goody. I went back and started my usual route. Clothes, bras/underwear, shoes, kitchen. I didn't really want to spend a lot of money so I was aiming for something until the $10. Guess what I found...Cupcake liners! How convenient that my parents gave me a cupcake/muffin calendar for Christmas. Just wait...the summer is going to be filled with cupcakes and muffins. Anyways, I got a dozen of the liners for about $6 cause they were on sale.

Back to the pizza though. I found those adorable mini muffin pizza puffs and thought to myself, "Self, those would be tasty full size." I mean, I LOVE miniature food. Seriously. It's amazing how much better something tastes when it's scaled down. Just ask Terry about the prospective fish cookies I'm making when we go fishing. (Yes, fishing.) He gets super excited even though it's a few months away. Again, back to the pizza. I was craving pizza. As an undergrad, I rarely ate pizza. Shocking, I know. So my pizza craving led to these tasty guys.

I ended up with 9 full sized muffins when the recipe said it would make 24 mini ones.

Pepperoni Pizza Muffins

3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
4 ounces pepperoni, sliced or cut into small cubes (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup pizza sauce (or marinara)
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

Preheat oven to 375o. Grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan or 9-12-cup regular muffin pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder; whisk in the milk and egg. Stir in the mozzarella and pepperoni; let stand for 10 minutes.

Stir the batter and divide among the (mini-)muffin cups. Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Check after 10 or 15 minutes.

Microwave the pizza sauce until warmed through, then stir in 1 tablespoon basil. Sprinkle the puffs with the remaining 1 tablespoon basil. Serve the puffs with the pizza sauce for dipping.

You could really add whatever you want to these guys. Next time I'll probably put in some vegetables.

I obviously couldn't eat all 9 of mine at once, so I put half in the fridge cause Alex wasn't around to eat them. I reheated them in the toaster oven the next day and they were still tasty.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Dear Chris! (Key Lime Pie)

For my friend's birthdays, I like to bake. That is my gift to them. Alex got a chocolate pumpkin pie for his birthday in October (and has bugging me for another one) so when I remembered that Chris' birthday was coming up, I asked what he wanted. He had tasted one of my key limes pie that I made last summer and that is what he wanted.
How pretty are these guys? Key limes are great. These little tiny limes that have little tiny seeds and are such pretty colors. The best time to squeeze key limes are when they're yellow. Yellow key limes give more juice and are much easier to juice then the green ones. Anyways, one pound of key limes will yield about a half a cup of juice. How convenient that that is all you need for one key lime pie. I prefer to squeeze them by hand, slicing them in half, picking out the seeds and squeezing each little half into a cup. This takes about half an hour. I also like to crush my own graham crackers for the crust...which takes a long time too. But, I will quote, "your crust is f***ing amazing." Yeah, crust that is completely hand done is AMAZING!

See that yellowish color, that is real key lime juice. If you're eating key lime pie that is green, stop immediately. It's not real. Real things are always better.

Key Lime Pie
1/2 cup key lime juice
4 egg yolks
1 can (12oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 package graham crackers
6ish tablespoons UNSALTED butter

Mix together the key lime juice, sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks. Beat them. Do not just stir...beat them. You want it to get a little bubbly. This way, it'll be more airy and tasty when it's done.

Melt about 6 tablespoons of butter and mix with crushed graham crackers. Add about 3 tablespoons of sugar in there too. Mix it all up and press into a 9" pie plate. Pour the key lime filling into the crust and then bake for about 10 minutes at 350. This will help it set and will make anyone feel better about the raw egg that has gone into it.

Since you have those egg whites sitting around, go ahead and beat them with a little sugar until stiff peaks form. That's meringue. Meringue your pie and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the meringue starts getting little brown bits on it. I've never had a success with meringue so I've never put it on a key lime pie. I like them plain or maybe with a little bit of chocolate drizzled on it. Yum!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Only in New Harmony (Blackberry Apple Rustic Tart)

New Harmony, Indiana.

Seriously, who goes there? Well, there were these folks called Harmonites and then there was the Rapp family and all kinds of other religious beard wearing fellows who settled a town on the Wabash River and called it New Harmony.

What's there? Surprisingly, a lot. It's a cultural center. Music, art, theatre, architecture, etc all has it's place. A couple of famous architects built there. The Atheneum by Richard Meier and the Roofless Church by Philip Johnson. The food it pretty tasty too. I recommend the White House for brunch rather than dinner personally.

Why was I there? Studio of course. My professor this semester, Ben, lives in New Harmony and serves as our visiting professor. He stops into town once every other week or so and this is the second time we've come down to visit him. It's sweet. Really. I loved it.

Last time we went in the beginning of February and we bought a pig. He's a miniature pig and his name, because he was friends with Ben, was Jerry. Jerry was spared slaughter because the day he was going to die, the Midwest got a TON of snow. Ben's family was against blood on the snow in front of their house so Jerry got to live...until Friday. Ben was there when he died, but Grant, who was to be the executioner was not. Probably a good thing. The piggy parts were cooked over an outside fire at Ben's house last night and boy was he tasty. Along with the pig, Laura, Ben's wife, made a couple of side dishes and some biscuits. The sides were parsnips, a dish with sweet potatoes, onions and other things and Sam made a black bean and mango salad for her and her vegan friends. For me, I got to bake. :)

Laura mentioned that they had put up some blackberries last summer and I eagerly jumped into the idea of a rustic tart. I used a couple granny smith apples and some golden delicious apples along with the berries and oh my goodness was it tasty.

Blackberry Apple Rustic Tart

1 1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cup unsalted butter + 2 tablespoons melted
1/3 cup cold water
4ish apples (depending on size)
1-2 cups blackberries

Slice apples into thin slices or small chunks. (See pictures) Toss with sugar and set aside. Make sure the blackberries are clean and don't have any stems on them. Set those aside too.

Put flour in a bowl and cut in butter. (First time to use a pastry cutter. LOVED IT!) Cut until it's about pea sized. Slowly add water and mix until it's doughy. Turn it onto a floured surface and knead it until everything is together. Roll out to 14-16 inches round and about 1/4" thick.

Place on a greased cookie sheet or put a piece of parchment paper under it. Lay the dough out and put the apples and blackberries in the center, leaving 2-3 inches around the edges. Fold the edges around the tart. The center will still be opened. Brush the melted butter over the top of the fruit and on the dough. Put in the oven at 400 for about an hour. (Mine only took about 40 minutes). It's done when the fruit is tender and the crust is golden brown.

I would say it's optional, but it should be a requirement to put whipped cream on top. Super simple and super delicious.

Mmm, whipped cream. Also pictured is one of Laura's butterscotch brownies.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How to Save a Life (Pasty Pies?)

Cooking for one is lame. Cooking for two is better. I made chicken pot pie to share for dinner on Monday and of course, there was left over bits. I always cut up too many potatoes and have too much gravy. So, I found something to do with it.

I was inspired by a recipe that I found on a blog called "The Other Side of Fifty." I dislike tuna a lot, but I liked the idea of biscuits and pie. I had bought some frozen biscuits the last time I was home because I was planning on making beef stew. I took out four biscuits the night before I was going to make my dinner. They thawed over night and when I got home from school that day, I rolled them out so they were about 6 inches across. I plopped the pot pie insides on one of the circles and then put the other rolled out biscuit on top. Then the edges got pinched and pushed down with a fork to make them look pretty. They baked for about 20 minutes at 325. Mom convinced me that it would be a better idea to pour gravy on top rather than mix it in so I did that and it was DELICIOUS! I want to make pot pie like this every time. The crust was buttery and delicious, the insides were nice and warm and the gravy was gravy-y as all gravy should be. I'm not one to turn down anything that has biscuits and gravy in the ingredients.

I've got enough for one more, and along with all the other leftovers I have plus going out to dinner when Alice is here tomorrow (!!!!!!!!!!!!) and then dinner with Terry this weekend, I am set on not cooking for a while. That's kind of against what I was planning on during my Spring Break, but I'm okay with it for now.

Pasty Pies (Like a pasty, but with pot pie filling)
Depending on how many you want to make, change the amounts. Here it is for about one.
1 smallish potato, peeled, cubed and boiled
2 chicken tenders, cooked and cubed (we don't buy breasts, but the tenders are a good size)
some frozen peas and corn or any other veggie you want
2 frozen biscuits for each pie, thawed

Preheat oven to 325.
Lightly grease a cookie sheet and place a rolled out biscuit on it. The biscuit should be about 6 inches across.

Pile on the insides (chicken, veggies, potatoes, etc) and cover with the other rolled out biscuit. Crimp the corners with your fingers or a fork. Poke a few hole for steam to escape and put in the oven for about 20 minutes. I'd follow the cooking directions of the biscuits since most everything else has already been cooked. The biscuits should be golden when they come out of the oven. Pour some gravy over it and enjoy!

Gravy (this will make a big batch that you can freeze for later use)
2 cups chicken stock
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup diced onion
1/3 cup butter

Melt the butter and stir in the flour and onion. Wait until it gets bubbly and smooth is. Take off the heat and add the milk and chicken stock. Return to the heat, stirring constantly until it thickens. It'll just take a couple of minutes.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Wizards (Lasagna)

I'm watching a really bad 70's movie called "Wizards" and I figured I could use this down time to write about a quite tasty meal I made last week. On Monday I made lasagna for the first time ever. What made me decide to make it? I had some cupcakes coming my way and I figured it was the least I could do to make dinner. I had lasagna noodles from one time when they were on sale. I had half a pound of venison and then went to the store for half a pound of ground beef. I also had all the cheese left over from my trip to New Harmony, Indiana. I made mozzarella, ricotta and cream cheese. All delicious. Anyways, the lasagna.

I used no boil noodles which was awesome. You just layer all the ingredients with the hard noodles in there and then bake it. The juices from the meat and the sauce allow the noodles to cook and come out quite tasty. Honestly, I ate it so much that I got really sick of it.

Here's the recipe.
1 oz box of Barilla no boil lasagna noodles
1 pound of ground beef, browned and drained
2 eggs
1 container (15 oz.) ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 jars of spaghetti sauce
4 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375*.

Mix eggs, ricotta, 2 cups of the mozzarella and parmesan cheese together.

In a 9x13 pan, cover the bottom with 1 cup of spaghetti sauce.

Layer: 4 noodles (slightly overlapping), 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, 1/2 the meat, 1 cup ricotta cheese and cover with 1 cup of the sauce.

Layer: 4 noodles (slightly overlapping), 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, and cover with 1 1/2 cups of the sauce.

Layer: 4 noodles (slightly overlapping), remaining ricotta mixture, remaining meat, and cover with 1 cup sauce.

Layer: 4 noodles (slightly overlapping), remaining sauce and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 50-60 minutes.

Uncover for about 5 minutes so the cheese on top can brown. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

If the pan is shallow, only do 3 layers. I kinda made up how it all went together because I didn't have the full sauce requirements or standard cheeses. The mozzarella didn't melt well because it was homemade. It was really good for a first try at lasagna. I'd make it again.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

8 Polish Foods of Christmas (Chocolate Chip Cookies)

I have forgotten how incredibly delicious homemade chocolate chip cookies are straight out of the oven. THEY'RE AMAZING!

Joe requested chocolate chip cookies the next time I decided to bake and share. So, since I'm working at MGA tomorrow, I made chocolate chip cookies. There is nothing special about them. They are just plain cookies. The best reaction is when Alex walks in the house and he stops mid conversation (talking to Jess on the phone) and gets super excited about the cookies that are cooling on the table. I had...3 of them? Maybe more. I can't remember. They're so good when they're all warm and gooey. Like I said, nothing special about them. I got the recipe off of the back of the chocolate chip bag.

Chocolate Chip Cookies!

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 sticks of butter (they're cookies, they aren't going to be healthy even without that much butter)
1 3/4 cups of chocolate chips (11.5 oz bag from Nestle)
1 cup of nuts (optional. I usually skip it because 1. I never have them and 2. I suspect I'm slightly allergic to tree nuts)

Preheat oven to 375*.

Mix the flour, salt and baking soda in one bowl.

In another bowl, cream the butter, sugars and vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time (or both if you're impatient) and mix everything together.

Stir in chocolate chips and drop by the spoonful onto ungreased baking sheets. Put in the oven for 9-11 minutes. Mine takes 8ish, but then, my oven is a little crazy.

Resist eating them until they've cooled slightly.

Should make 5 dozen, but I only got 4. I made larger cookies this time. I usually make little cookies. Small things just seem tastier.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Procrastination Station (Manicotti)

Remember that time I made ricotta cheese? Oh right, that was yesterday. I made something with it today! I made manicotti. Mmm. I had some manicotti noodles hanging around. Last summer I made them, but only used 8 of them because I didn't have a large pan. So...since I had the noodles and the cheese, I went to town making it. It came out really well.

1 3/4 cup ricotta cheese (I used just about all of the stuff I made yesterday, I didn't really measure)
1 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup pesto
1 egg
12 manicotti shells
2 cups spaghetti sauce

Boil the manicotti noodles for about 7 minutes. They aren't going to be completely cooked through. They'll finish cooking in the oven. When they're done, drain them and rinse them in cold water. It'll make stuffing them easier.

While the noodles are boiling, mix together the egg, cheeses and pesto. Load all of that into a baggie with the tip cup off so it's easy to fill the noodles.

Put 3/4 cup spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 pan.

Take the cooked noodles and fill them with the cheese mixture. It's easier to do it from both ends then trying to get it all to go down one side.

Lay the filled noodles in the pan and cover them with the rest of the sauce. Cover with tin foil and put in the oven at 350 for about 40 minutes. The noodles should be tender.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I Love Cows (Ricotta Cheese)

I'm designing a dairy farm for studio, so yesterday I traveled out to the Howell/Hartland area to check out a few. I got to the Lyon's farm without getting lost (yay!) and then Terry and I drove to dairy farm #1. Lots of cows. Lots of manure. I'm going to pretend that it was mud caked on my shoes. Just let me pretend. They had calves. Lots of calves. 4 day old twins. THEY WERE SO CUTE! After that one, we went down the road and looked at some Oreo cows (Belted Galloways) and some miniature donkeys. Then we drove down the road again and looked at a huge dairy operation. 1,300 head, but not all of them get milked. They were all computerized and it was pretty intense. Then it was back to the Lyon's farm to look at the calves I had seen in October. Good times, even though I smelled like cow poo when I got home.

Since I'm designing a dairy farm, I decided to make some cheese. I wanted to test it out this weekend before I make it for real people next week. I went out to Whole Foods to look for rennet tablets, but I was informed that no one in the city has any. I bought some of the other stuff I needed for my cheeses and then came home. I ordered the rennet tablets and citric acid online and hopefully it'll be here at the end of the week. So I made ricotta today.

Ricotta Cheese
1/2 gallon/2 quarts/8 cups of whole milk, not ultra pasteurized
1 cup whole milk yogurt
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt

Put everything into a large pot and wait for it to boil. Let it boil for about 2 minutes. Everything will curdle and it'll start to smell like ricotta cheese.

While you're waiting for everything to boil, line a strainer with cheese cloth.

When everything has boiled and is ready, take the pot off the heat and pour it into the strainer. Let it strain for about 15 minutes. You want most of the liquid to get out. That's whey and it's a yellowish green color. Pick up the cheesecloth and wrap it around the cheese. Gently squeeze the curds so more liquid comes out. Then, it's done!

Apparently this best warm and can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Makes about 2 cups.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Muffins in the Oven (French Toast Fingers)

I'm waiting for my milk to curdle for another recipe so I figured I'd update. Right after I got back here from Christmas break I decided to test out one of my new cookbooks. Breakfast for dinner is one of my favorite dinners so I picked out French Toast Fingers. I used some of my grandma's strawberry jam (yummy) and used the powdered sugar quite liberally. I don't have enough experience in french toast making so there was still a lot of it that was kind of eggy. Not a big fan of that part. I'll stick to the store bought french toast sticks I think.

French Toast Fingers
from Dinner on a Dime

2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup strawberry preserves
8 slices day-old white bread

In a bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and salt; set aside. Spread preserves on four slices of bread; top with remaining bread. Trim crusts; cut each sandwich into three strips.

Dip both sides in egg mixture. Cook on a lightly greased hot griddle for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Top with powdered sugar.

Sorry for the lack of story tonight. I've been craving chocolate chip muffins all day and I'm 6 minutes and 54 seconds away from being able to make them. So close! There is also a hole in my sock. It makes me sad. It's just another sock to add to the growing pile of socks without a mate. I pair them together in hopes that they'll be friends.